BLOOMINGBURG, NY – There are many times where athletes feed off of each other’s performance and this crack staff of MTM writers are no different. Thankfully, Angry Ward mentioned the Knicks on Wednesday and how they are in line for a long lost playoff spot because I’m oblivious to professional hardwood action and have been since giving up gambling in the mid-90’s. That was a good era for the NBA and the last time the Knickerbockers were relevant. Nothing jump-starts the NYC vibe like the play of the Knicks so I do wish them well but I still probably won’t watch.
The decade prior to the 90’s NBA was nothing but entertaining after Bird & Magic pumped blood into the sport which was on life support at the time. Short Matt’s introduction yesterday coincidentally mentioned the word nuggets – after I made up my mind to write about the Denver Nuggets of yore. It was a fun time as a fan of the team since their colorful days of the ABA’s red, white and blue basketball (which I did own as a kid), the velvet, suede and polyester fashions and characters (remember them) that dotted the sports landscape.
David Thompson was to 70’s basketball what Jordan was to the late 80’s. Thompson was the original cat nicknamed Skywalker and how the Knicks Kenny Walker was able to later steal the moniker is beyond me. Dr. J and Thompson, with dunks, fast-breaks and smooth shooting, had some prolific individual/team battles, as they engaged in a race for the league scoring titles, while their respective teams fought for the last few ABA crowns. Thompson’s help on those Larry Brown-coached teams came from Dan Issel and George McGinnis.
It wasn’t until the colorful character who coached the Nuggets, Doug Moe, during the run-n-gun 80’s that the team had a renaissance with an all offensive and no defense approach to the game. The team led the NBA in scoring and were way at the bottom in defending as the Big 3 of Alex English, Kiki Vandeweghe and the aforementioned Issel all filled the score sheet to the tune of twenty points per game a piece at the very least. Hall of Famer English was smooth as silk in his shooting motion, Vandeweghe a Larry Bird-type minus the instincts, and Issel the junkyard dog in the paint. Moe was known for his outdated fashion (think Lindsey Nelson’s jacket worn in the 80’s) as he patrolled the sideline and his candor in addressing the media and the team during timeouts (there’s gotta be something on you tube to prove it) making him an enduring and entertaining figure.
I had a freaking gas watching the Nuggets in those colorful ball-hugging uniforms of the era a few times at the old McNichol’s Arena while human mascot and super fan *Krazy George pounded his drum to stir the crowd. Leave some of your basketball memories if you’re my age about the 80’s era when the sport was probably at it’s height of popularity.
That’s it for me, comment below and come back tomorrow for our man that was popular in the 80’s, Junoir Blaber.